For the purposes of this Convention:
1. «Ship» means any seagoing vessel and seaborne
craft, of any type whatsoever.
2. «Person» means any individual or partnership or
any public or private body, whether corporate or not, including a State
or any of its constituent subdivisions.
3. «Shipowner» means the owner, including the
registered owner, bareboat charterer, manager and operator of the
4. «Registered owner» means the person or persons
registered as the owner of the ship or, in the absence of registration,
the person or persons owning the ship. However, in the case
of a ship owned by a State and operated by a company which in that
State is registered as the ship’s operator,
«registered owner» shall mean such
5. «Bunker oil» means any hydrocarbon mineral oil,
including lubricating oil, used or intended to be used for the
operation or propulsion of the ship, and any residues of such
6. «Civil Liability Convention» means the
International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage,
1992, as amended.
7. «Preventive measures» means any reasonable
measures taken by any person after an incident has occurred to prevent
or minimize pollution damage.
8. «Incident» means any occurrence or series of
occurrences having the same origin, which causes pollution damage or
creates a grave and imminent threat of causing such damage.
9. «Pollution damage» means:
(a) loss or damage caused outside the ship by contamination resulting
from the escape or discharge of bunker oil from the ship, wherever such
escape or discharge may occur, provided that compensation for
impairment of the environment other than loss of profit from such
impairment shall be limited to costs of reasonable measures of
reinstatement actually undertaken or to be undertaken; and
(b) the costs of preventive measures and further loss or damage caused
by preventive measures.
10. «State of the ship's registry» means, in
relation to a registered ship, the State of registration of the ship
and, in relation to an unregistered ship, the State whose flag the ship
is entitled to fly.
11. «Gross tonnage» means gross tonnage calculated
in accordance with the tonnage measurement regulations contained in
Annex 1 of the International Convention on Tonnage
Measurement of Ships, 1969.
12. «Organization» means the International Maritime
13. «Secretary-General» means the Secretary-General
of the Organization.
2 (Scope of application)
This Convention shall apply exclusively:
(a) to pollution damage caused:
(i) in the territory, including the territorial sea, of a State Party,
(ii) in the exclusive economic zone of a State Party, established in
accordance with international law, or, if a State Party has not
established such a zone, in an area beyond and adjacent to the
territorial sea of that State determined by that State in accordance
with international law and extending not more than 200 nautical miles
from the baselines from which the breadth of its territorial sea is
(b) to preventive measures, wherever taken, to prevent or minimize such
3 (Liability of the shipowner)
1. Except as provided in paragraphs 3 and 4,
the shipowner at the time of an incident shall be liable for pollution
damage caused by any bunker oil on board or originating from the ship,
provided that, if an incident consists of a series of occurrences
having the same origin, the liability shall attach to the shipowner at
the time of the first of such occurrences.
2. Where more than one person is liable in accordance with paragraph 1,
their liability shall be joint and several.
3. No liability for pollution damage shall attach to the shipowner if
the shipowner proves that:
(a) the damage resulted from an act of war, hostilities, civil war,
insurrection or a natural phenomenon of an exceptional, inevitable and
irresistible character; or
(b) the damage was wholly caused by an act or omission done with the
intent to cause damage by a third party; or
(c) the damage was wholly caused by the negligence or other wrongful
act of any Government or other authority responsible for the
maintenance of lights or other navigational aids in the exercise of
4. If the shipowner proves that the pollution damage resulted wholly or
partially either from an act or omission done with intent to cause
damage by the person who suffered the damage or from the negligence of
that person, the shipowner may be exonerated wholly or partially from
liability to such person.
5. No claim for compensation for pollution damage shall be made against
the shipowner otherwise than in accordance with this Convention.
6. Nothing in this Convention shall prejudice any right of recourse of
the shipowner which exists independently of this Convention.
1. This Convention shall not apply to pollution damage
as defined in the Civil Liability Convention, whether or not
compensation is payable in respect of it under that Convention.
2. Except as provided in paragraph 3, the provisions of this Convention
shall not apply to warships, naval auxiliary or other ships owned or
operated by a State and used, for the time being, only on Government
3. A State Party may decide to apply this Convention to its warships or
other ships described in paragraph 2, in which case it shall notify the
Secretary-General thereof specifying the terms and conditions of such
4. With respect to ships owned by a State Party and used for commercial
purposes, each State shall be subject to suit in the jurisdictions set
forth in article 9 and shall waive all defences based on its status as
a sovereign State.
5 (Incidents involving two or more ships)
When an incident involving two or more ships occurs
and pollution damage results therefrom, the shipowners of all the ships
concerned, unless exonerated under article 3, shall be jointly and
severally liable for all such damage which is not reasonably separable.
6 (Limitation of liability)
Nothing in this Convention shall affect the right of
the shipowner and the person or persons providing insurance or other
financial security to limit liability under any applicable national or
international regime, such as the Convention on Limitation of Liability
for Maritime Claims, 1976, as amended.
7 (Compulsory insurance or financial security)
1. The registered owner of a ship having a
gross tonnage greater than 1000 registered in a State Party shall be
required to maintain insurance or other financial security,
such as the guarantee of a bank or similar financial institution, to
cover the liability of the registered owner for pollution damage in an
amount equal to the limits of liability under the applicable national
or international limitation regime, but in all cases, not exceeding an
amount calculated in accordance with the Convention on Limitation of
Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976, as amended.
2. A certificate attesting that insurance or other financial security
is in force in accordance with the provisions of this Convention shall
be issued to each ship after the appropriate authority of a State Party
has determined that the requirements of paragraph 1 have been complied
with. With respect to a ship registered in a State Party such
certificate shall be issued or certified by the appropriate authority
of the State of the ship’s registry; with respect to a ship
not registered in a State Party it may be issued or certified by the
appropriate authority of any State Party. This certificate shall be in
the form of the model set out in the annex to this Convention and shall
contain the following particulars:
(a) name of ship, distinctive number or letters and port of registry;
(b) name and principal place of business of the registered
(c) IMO ship identification number;
(d) type and duration of security;
(e) name and principal place of business of insurer or other person
giving security and, where appropriate, place of business where the
insurance or security is established;
(f) period of validity of the certificate which shall not be longer
than the period of validity of the insurance or other
3. (a) A State Party may authorize either an institution or an
organization recognized by it to issue the certificate referred to in
paragraph 2. Such institution or organization shall inform that State
of the issue of each certificate. In all cases, the State Party shall
fully guarantee the completeness and accuracy of the certificate so
issued and shall undertake to ensure the necessary arrangements to
satisfy this obligation.
(b) A State Party shall notify the Secretary-General of :
(i) the specific responsibilities and conditions of the authority
delegated to an institution or organization recognised by it;
(ii) the withdrawal of such authority; and
(iii) the date from which such authority or withdrawal of such
authority takes effect.
An authority delegated shall not take effect prior to three months from
the date on which notification to that effect was given to the
(c) The institution or organization authorized to issue certificates in
accordance with this paragraph shall, as a minimum, be authorized to
withdraw these certificates if the conditions under which they have
been issued are not maintained. In all cases the institution
or organization shall report such withdrawal to the State on whose
behalf the certificate was issued.
4. The certificate shall be in the official language or languages of
the issuing State. If the language used is not English, French or
Spanish, the text shall include a translation into one of these
languages and, where the State so decides, the official language of the
State may be omitted.
5. The certificate shall be carried on board the ship and a copy shall
be deposited with the authorities who keep the record of the ship's
registry or, if the ship is not registered in a State Party, with the
authorities issuing or certifying the certificate.
6. An insurance or other financial security shall not satisfy the
requirements of this article if it can cease, for reasons other than
the expiry of the period of validity of the insurance or security
specified in the certificate under paragraph 2 of this article, before
three months have elapsed from the date on which notice of its
termination is given to the authorities referred to in paragraph 5 of
this article, unless the certificate has been surrendered to these
authorities or a new certificate has been issued within the said
period. The foregoing provisions shall similarly apply to any
modification which results in the insurance or security no longer
satisfying the requirements of this article.
7. The State of the ship’s registry shall, subject to the
provisions of this article, determine the conditions of issue and
validity of the certificate.
8. Nothing in this Convention shall be construed as preventing a State
Party from relying on information obtained from other States or the
Organization or other international organisations relating to the
financial standing of providers of insurance or financial security for
the purposes of this Convention. In such cases, the State Party relying
on such information is not relieved of its responsibility as a State
issuing the certificate required by paragraph 2.
9. Certificates issued or certified under the authority of a State
Party shall be accepted by other States Parties for the purposes of
this Convention and shall be regarded by other States Parties as having
the same force as certificates issued or certified by them even if
issued or certified in respect of a ship not registered in a State
Party. A State Party may at any time request consultation with the
issuing or certifying State should it believe that the insurer or
guarantor named in the insurance certificate is not financially capable
of meeting the obligations imposed by this Convention.
10. Any claim for compensation for pollution damage may be brought
directly against the insurer or other person providing financial
security for the registered owner’s liability for pollution
damage. In such a case the defendant may invoke the defences (other
than bankruptcy or winding up of the shipowner) which the shipowner
would have been entitled to invoke, including limitation pursuant to
article 6. Furthermore, even if the shipowner is not entitled
to limitation of liability according to article 6, the defendant may
limit liability to an amount equal to the amount of the insurance or
other financial security required to be maintained in accordance with
paragraph 1. Moreover, the defendant may invoke the defence
that the pollution damage resulted from the wilful misconduct of the
shipowner, but the defendant shall not invoke any other defence which
the defendant might have been entitled to invoke in proceedings brought
by the shipowner against the defendant. The defendant shall
in any event have the right to require the shipowner to be joined in
11. A State Party shall not permit a ship under its flag to which this
article applies to operate at any time, unless a certificate has been
issued under paragraphs 2 or 14.
12. Subject to the provisions of this article, each State Party shall
ensure, under its national law, that insurance or other security, to
the extent specified in paragraph 1, is in force in respect of any ship
having a gross tonnage greater than 1000, wherever registered, entering
or leaving a port in its territory, or arriving at or leaving an
offshore facility in its territorial sea.
13. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 5, a State Party may
notify the Secretary-General that, for the purposes of paragraph 12,
ships are not required to carry on board or to produce the certificate
required by paragraph 2, when entering or leaving ports or arriving at
or leaving from offshore facilities in its territory, provided that the
State Party which issues the certificate required by paragraph 2 has
notified the Secretary-General that it maintains records in an
electronic format, accessible to all States Parties, attesting the
existence of the certificate and enabling States Parties to discharge
their obligations under paragraph 12.
14. If insurance or other financial security is not maintained in
respect of a ship owned by a State Party, the provisions of this
article relating thereto shall not be applicable to such ship, but the
ship shall carry a certificate issued by the appropriate authority of
the State of the ship's registry stating that the ship is owned by that
State and that the ship's liability is covered within the limit
prescribed in accordance with paragraph 1. Such a certificate shall
follow as closely as possible the model prescribed by paragraph 2.
15. A State may, at the time of ratification, acceptance, approval of,
or accession to this Convention, or at any time thereafter, declare
that this article does not apply to ships operating exclusively within
the area of that State referred to in article 2(a)(i).
8 (Time limits)
Rights to compensation under this Convention shall be
extinguished unless an action is brought thereunder within three years
from the date when the damage occurred. However, in no case shall an
action be brought more than six years from the date of the incident
which caused the damage. Where the incident consists of a series of
occurrences, the six years’ period shall run from the date of
the first such occurrence.
1. Where an incident has caused pollution damage in
the territory, including the territorial sea, or in an area referred to
in article 2(a)(ii) of one or more States Parties, or preventive
measures have been taken to prevent or minimise pollution damage in
such territory, including the territorial sea, or in such area, actions
for compensation against the shipowner, insurer or other person
providing security for the shipowner's liability may be brought only in
the courts of any such States Parties.
2. Reasonable notice of any action taken under paragraph 1 shall be
given to each defendant.
3. Each State Party shall ensure that its courts have jurisdiction to
entertain actions for compensation under this Convention.
10 (Recognition and enforcement)
1. Any judgement given by a Court with jurisdiction in
accordance with article 9 which is enforceable in the State of origin
where it is no longer subject to ordinary forms of review, shall be
recognised in any State Party, except:
(a) where the judgement was obtained by fraud; or
(b) where the defendant was not given reasonable notice and a fair
opportunity to present his or her case.
2. A judgement recognised under paragraph 1 shall be enforceable in
each State Party as soon as the formalities required in that State have
been complied with. The formalities shall not permit the merits of the
case to be re-opened.
11 (Supersession Clause)
This Convention shall supersede any
Convention in force or open for signature, ratification or accession at
the date on which this Convention is opened for signature, but only to
the extent that such Convention would be in conflict with it; however,
nothing in this article shall affect the obligations of States Parties
to States not party to this Convention arising under such Convention.
12 (Signature, ratification, acceptance, approval and
1. This Convention shall be open for
signature at the Headquarters of the Organization from 1 October 2001
until 30 September 2002 and shall thereafter remain open for accession.
2. States may express their consent to be bound by this Convention by:
(a) signature without reservation as to ratification, acceptance or
(b) signature subject to ratification, acceptance or approval followed
by ratification, acceptance or approval; or
3. Ratification, acceptance, approval or accession shall be effected by
the deposit of an instrument to that effect with the Secretary-General.
4. Any instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession
deposited after the entry into force of an amendment to this Convention
with respect to all existing State Parties, or after the completion of
all measures required for the entry into force of the amendment with
respect to those State Parties shall be deemed to apply to this
Convention as modified by the amendment.
13 (States with more than one system of law)
1. If a State has two or more territorial units in
which different systems of law are applicable in relation to matters
dealt with in this Convention, it may at the time of signature,
ratification, acceptance, approval or accession declare that this
Convention shall extend to all its territorial units or only to one or
more of them and may modify this declaration by submitting another
declaration at any time.
2. Any such declaration shall be notified to the Secretary-General and
shall state expressly the territorial units to which this Convention
3. In relation to a State Party which has made such a declaration:
(a) in the definition of “registered owner” in
article 1(4), references to a State shall be construed as references to
such a territorial unit;
(b) references to the State of a ship’s registry and, in
relation to a compulsory insurance certificate, to the issuing or
certifying State, shall be construed as referring to the territorial
unit respectively in which the ship is registered and which issues or
certifies the certificate;
(c) references in this Convention to the requirements of national law
shall be construed as references to the requirements of the law of the
relevant territorial unit; and
(d) references in articles 9 and 10 to courts, and to
judgements which must be recognized in States Parties, shall be
construed as references respectively to courts of, and to judgements
which must be recognized in, the relevant territorial unit.
14 (Entry into force)
1. This Convention shall enter into force
one year following the date on which eighteen States, including five
States each with ships whose combined gross tonnage is not less than 1
million, have either signed it without reservation as to ratification,
acceptance or approval or have deposited instruments of ratification,
acceptance, approval or accession with the
2. For any State which ratifies, accepts, approves or accedes to it
after the conditions in paragraph 1 for entry into force have been met,
this Convention shall enter into force three months after the date of
deposit by such State of the appropriate instrument.
1. This Convention may be denounced by any State Party
at any time after the date on which this Convention comes into force
for that State.
2. Denunciation shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument with
3. A denunciation shall take effect one year, or such longer period as
may be specified in the instrument of denunciation, after its deposit
with the Secretary-General.
16 (Revision or amendment)
1. A conference for the purpose of revising or
amending this Convention may be convened by the Organization.
2. The Organization shall convene a conference of the States Parties
for revising or amending this Convention at the request of not less
than one-third of the States Parties.
1. This Convention shall be deposited with the
2. The Secretary-General shall:
(a) inform all States which have signed or acceded to this
(i) each new signature or deposit of instrument together with the date
(ii) the date of entry into force of this Convention;
(iii) the deposit of any instrument of denunciation of this Convention
together with the date of the deposit and the date on which the
denunciation takes effect; and
(iv) other declarations and notifications made under this Convention.
(b) transmit certified true copies of this Convention to all Signatory
States and to all States which accede to this Convention.
18 (Transmission to United Nations)
As soon as this Convention comes into force, the text
shall be transmitted by the Secretary-General to the Secretariat of the
United Nations for registration and publication in accordance with
Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.
This Convention is established in a single original in
the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish languages,
each text being equally authentic.
Done at London this twenty-third day of March, two
thousand and one.